The UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, the U.S. Library of Congress, and other partner institutions have launched a World Digital Library — a website featuring cultural materials from libraries and archives around the world. This includes cultural materials from the libraries of China.
It’s an attempt to promote peace and global cultural understanding through digital Internet technology.
Archivists at libraries around the world are teaming up to create the digital database of manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, artwork, and photographs from their collections.
Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for communications and information, says the project aims to promote social progress and better standards of living around the world by helping to build what he calls ‘inclusive knowledge societies.’
‘Any vision of building inclusive knowledge societies has to be based on some fundamental principles — for example, universal access to information and knowledge, cultural and linguistic diversity, freedom of expression, and quality education for all.
To all the four fundamental principles of building knowledge societies, the digitization of libraries contributes. But it also contributes to the overall mandate of UNESCO. That is, through mutual understanding promoting peace.’
Radio Free Europe Khan says the World Digital Library also promotes Article 19 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression — including the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.
There are few publishers and few libraries who do not subscribe to this in any way; who twist themselves in knots trying to protect what is not legally theirs through the daft intricacies of the copyright acts. They are not interested in a declaration of human rights. They would happily burn Tyndale at the stake. A pox take them.